The world of photography has been buzzing all week with great photographers and artists posting their work for the world to enjoy. Toad Hollow Photography has been busy searching all corners of the internet to find the links to the best photography sites and pages to share with everyone. This weeks list features a selection of great tutorials and reviews, as well as the usual list of links to fabulous imagery. We really hope you enjoy checking out these posts and pictures as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.
4 Ways to Photograph Water – Anne McKinnell shares a terrific tutorial here, going over key points of how to photograph water to achieve stunning results. Anne goes over all the main points involved in this genre of imagery, including some of her breathtaking pictures to illustrate the key points she is sharing.
Exposure Blending for Landscape Photography: A Guide for Beginners – Andy Gimino writes a terrific piece here that takes us through the entire process of exposure blending. This highly technical process is discussed in good detail in Andy’s post here, and he includes some detailed screenshots of the tools and the image in action to really accent the points discussed.
7 Tips For Photographing Lightning – this is a terrific primer for those wanting to get into lightning photography. Timing and camera configuration need to be in perfect balance for this to work, and Blake Rudis does a great job in this brief post in introducing you to the basics required to achieve great results.
How To Make a Home Brew Smartphone Film Scanner – for those with massive collections of film and negatives that require scanning into a digital format, this post may be for you. The concept is straight-forward, get a box that allows for the film to be backlit while the camera is elevated to a height allowing for proper focus. The results are rather astounding considering the device itself.
7 Things You Should Learn to do in Lightroom – this guide by Dan Bailey talks about some of the fundamental features of Lightroom, showcasing the power the tool brings to the digital darkroom for the avid photographer. Dan goes through 7 basic functions the software provides, discussing them in an easy to digest manner allowing you to focus on your workflow rather than the nuances of software.
A Tripod Without Legs – the ultimate solution for shooting in cramped spaces where tripods might be difficult to use, this clamp based device delivers all the benefits of a tripod with a much smaller footprint.
In the Studio: Using Large Parabolic Umbrellas – Joe Farace discusses the power in photography in utilizing parabolic umbrellas to produce light that is highly suitable for portrait work. Joe talks about the Westcott line of these umbrellas and includes a sample photograph to illustrate the results achieved using this gear.
How an Exploding Meteor Turned a Great Shot Into a Once-in-a-Lifetime Photograph – chance favors the prepared I've been told, and this epic photograph from Scott Rinckenberger shows just how powerful this can be in the hands of a gifted photographer. As a long-term photograph expedition nears its end, Scott finds himself setup and ready for an amazing natural phenomenon that he captures perfectly, creating an image that is sure to leave a mark in the imagination of those who visit for quite some time.
Boatshed – local photographer Ehpem captures a set of photographs of an old wooden boatshed. He uses HDR in this series to capture the broadest dynamic range possible, highlighting terrific textures and details in the old structure as well as exploring the incredible natural beauty that surrounds it.
Another World … – in a terrific example of how wondrous nature can truly be, this photograph by Iurie Belegurschi transports us to an underwater ice cave with a waterfall flowing within it. The huge ice formations at first glance are difficult to comprehend, but when you see the person in the frame standing near the waterfall the entire scale of the scene becomes clear.
September 1957 – Len Saltiel visits an unused mill and finds a calendar still hanging with the date of September 1957 on it. The sense of nostalgia in the way Len has framed this piece creates a strong feeling of tension for the viewer, leaving us all to wonder about who was the last one to see this calendar before the doors closed.
Items of interest – this perfectly framed black-and-white piece by Melinda Green Harvey showcases all the natural tension that can be found in shots that feature long abandoned buildings. The textures and details within the picture are terrific to explore, and as you spend time taking in the finer details a story begins to emerge… one that leaves more questions unanswered than it answers.
Old church in Moshelm Tn – a terrific old character church with plenty of natural weathering to give it character stands tall and proud for photographer Diane Frey to capture and share here. A lone tree standing in front of the church adds a dash of drama with it’s barren limbs, helping to create the overall sense one has when viewing this piece.
Home is where I lay my hat – this shot posted by Barry Turner is an instant favorite for me. Barry finds an old wooden caravan somewhere in his vicinity, and then processes it in a dark monochromatic way with a great vignette to deliver a strong feeling of being there many years ago.
Dr Anna – I would spend an entire lifetime exploring a place like this, now long abandoned and left to the devices of nature. This old home is now in a steady state of decay, and with the items left behind the vignettes found create strong scenes full of natural artistic tension. This series is a terrific exploration of an forgotten house.
Four Score and Seven… – Mike Criswell takes us to the world-famous Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where he captures a pair of shots featuring this iconic place. The first shot is a detail shot, featuring an eagle perched at the entrance, and the second is a wide, sweeping view of the memorial itself.
Misty River – this is a dramatic and moody piece from the studio of Jim Denham that features a black-and-white image captured on a very foggy day. The dark contrasts in the picture create strong definition to the image, gently taking the viewer out over the water where we find a boater in the mist, mostly veiled from the thick fog that drapes the entire scene.
The View from Casa Loma – an absolutely breathtaking view from the terrace of Casa Loma is brought to life in this wonderful photograph by Edith Levy. Edith’s patience and perseverance pays off big-time in this shot that features a look at the city all lit up beautifully at night.
Good morning Nashville – the crack of dawn finds Jim Nix out exploring this great city before the citizens come to life. This terrific shot features a vantage looking down a street in the city with the incredible architecture and colors from the still lit neon lights painting the scene in wonderful tones.
Inside the Clock – this terrific shot from the studio of Steven Perlmutter delivers a great study in lines and shapes by exploring the inside of an old clock tower. There are just so many great details and textures in this shot, enough to capture the minds of everyone who spends some time with it, and there’s also a treasure gem buried in the frame that reveals context and scale.
Clock Works – this photograph is by Bob Lussier of the same clock featured in the link above by Steven Perlmutter. Bob’s picture focuses on the clock gears, showcasing the intricate pieces that come together to keep this old landmark working for the next 100 years. This is a terrific study in mechanics and gears, well worth the time for a visit to see for yourself.
Perfect Angle – finding a scene that is dynamic in nature, yet it exposes the perfect elements in perfect alignment, is a thing that we all crave to find. Larry Landolfi’s shot features just this with a lighthouse and a sailboat creating harmony in the composition, and a full moon in the backdrop to add a perfect element of natural tension.
Harbor Lights – Jimi Jones explores wonderful colors and tones from the fading light of day as they drape over a great architectural landscape. The gentle waters in the foreground of this shot produce wavy reflections of the cityscape, adding a great and compelling element to the image.
My Nightmare – Evan Gearing captures and shares a truly gritty piece here, showing the inside of a prison cell in glorious black-and-white to accent the raw drama. Incredible textures and details in the weathered cell work in perfect harmony with the monochromatic processing to deliver a picture that defines drama in art.
Twins On The Lake Bank – as fall gives way to winter, the colors of the trees create striking tones that fill the frame in a vivid palette. Jay&Jacy Photography takes us along on an exploration of an autumn countryside and we enjoy the benefits of this in incredible photography.
Eastern State Penitentiary Barber Chair – Mark Garbowski shares his personal take on a scene that is one of my favorites in the world of photography. This penitentiary is now a museum after being called home by some of the most hardened and famous criminals of all time. This vignette finds a carefully placed weathered barber’s chair in the remains of one the cells, making for a very dramatic subject.
Fallen Window – Len Saltiel’s photograph taken inside a long unused Silk Mill in western Maryland finds us exploring a scene full of details lost in time. A lone wooden framed window lies prone against the remnants of machines left behind, creating a strong element of artistic tension to add a perfect touch to a great picture.
Five – a great shot by Stan Deitz that finds us looking through an open window into the cockpit and dashboard of a classic car. The dice on the end of the gearshift knob shows a 5, hence the title of the piece. The way the picture is framed by looking through the spokes of a classic steering wheel adds the perfect finishing touch.
Desolate Tracks – this great shot by Averil McPhedran Hall finds us looking down a railroad track leading right past a character train station. The desolation of the surroundings adds great artistic drama to the scene, delivering a piece sure to captivate the minds and imaginations of everyone who loves rustic scenes of this type.
Silence – the skeleton of an old wooden boat now lying forgotten in the shallow waters strikes a dramatic subject for the photography of shikhei goh. The long exposure technique works in harmony with the black-and-white post-processing to create a picture full of rich tension.
What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast
It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.